Iran’s IAEA envoy renews call for nuke-free Middle East

The Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has renewed Tehran’s call for turning the Middle East into a zone free from nuclear weapons.

Reza Najafi said that Iran welcomes any efforts aimed at dismantling nuclear weapons across the globe and strongly supports the creation of a nukes-free Middle East.

The Iranian diplomat made the remarks on Tuesday during a speech at an international conference on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons held in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

Najafi said that Iran presented the proposition of a nukes-free Middle East in 1974, adding that the idea enjoys backing from the international community.

He, however, said that Israel was the main obstacle to the realization of the idea as the regime, backed by a number of UN Security Council members, refuses to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and place its nuclear facilities under the IAEA Safeguards.

The IAEA Safeguards is a system of inspection and verification of the peaceful uses of nuclear materials as part of the NPT.

Iran, as a victim of weapons of mass destruction, is of strong conviction that possessing nuclear weapons cannot provide or guarantee security for any nation, stressing that the only absolute guarantee was to fully dismantle nuclear arms under tight international supervision, Najafi said.

Israel is widely believed to be the only possessor of nuclear arms in the Middle East, with an estimated stockpile of 200-400 nuclear warheads. In its Yearbook 2012, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said that Israel possesses at least 80 “highly operational” nuclear warheads.

The Israeli regime, which rejects all regulatory international nuclear agreements, maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity over its nuclear activities and refuses to allow its nuclear facilities to come under international regulatory inspections.

By Press TV


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